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Animas Valley RV application submitted

Luxury resort proposal shrank from 306 stalls to 277
The La Plata County Planning Department has received an application, now pending review, for the proposed luxury RV park off Trimble Lane in the Animas Valley. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Scott Roberts, the Arizona-based developer behind a proposed luxury RV park in the Animas Valley, made quite a bit of noise last winter when he brought the project’s initial plans to the public.

But the silence that followed was deafening.

After his project’s sketch plan was approved in January, residents began to organize against him. And then, they waited.

Although any decision on the matter is likely months away, the review process may now begin because Roberts submitted an application for the Durango Village Camp project earlier this month.

Roberts is proposing a luxury resort-style RV park along the Animas River on a 36.6-acre former gravel pit, located at 876 Trimble Lane (County Road 252).

The application is still pending, meaning planning department staff members have yet to review it for completeness. However, it contains more than three dozen individual documents that inform, although may not assuage, some of the more noteworthy concerns related to the project.

In March, Dot Wehrly spoke to a crowd gathered at the Animas Valley Grange as the Animas Valley Action Coalition began to organize its opposition to the proposed RV park near Dalton Ranch. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Residents of the Animas Valley have argued that the traffic from and visual impact of the initial 306 proposed RV stalls would be excessive. In response, Roberts scaled down the density to 277 sites, which will feature a mix of parking for visitors with their own RVs and prefabricated “adventure cabins” akin to tiny homes.

Detractors have pushed Roberts to scale the project down to about 100 stalls, but the developer has said that project size would not be economically viable.

“The development team elected to lower the total number of sites to enhance the project’s compatibility with the community,” the application says.

The application also offers a first look at some of the projected impact on the area’s infrastructure, including water resources and roads.

Members of the Animas Valley Action Coalition – the formal name of the group opposing the project – listed water as No. 4 on their list of the project’s top 10 impacts.

Scott Roberts, the CEO of Roberts Resorts, at a sketch plan hearing for the Durango Village Camp project in January. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

“The … projected build-out of the property will trigger significant water demands and possible improvements to the system,” the group argues, noting that drought conditions can overly burden water supply.

In a letter stating a commitment to serve the project, the Animas Water Co. said that extreme drought conditions have never affected its ability to serve its customers in the last 30 years.

The traffic study completed by Short Elliott Hendrickson concluded that “the anticipated traffic volume generated by the Roberts RV Resort is not expected to significantly impact the surrounding roadway network.”

Trimble Lane is expected to require some overlay work, which the firm predicted might cost $138,000, to be paid by the applicant.

Perhaps the only point of excitement to members of the public so far has been the possibility of a developed river put-in. The site has been illegally used for years by recreationists, but is technically a part of Roberts’ land.

Local advocates have spoken out in favor of developing the put-in to make it safer and secure legal, long-term access. Although the exact mechanics of that access have yet to be determined, the application does contain a potential design.

Roberts Resorts submitted a potential conceptual drawing of what a development of the Animas River put in off Trimble Lane could look like. (Courtesy of Durango Village Camp)

The put-in could feature a small picnic area, a concrete boat ramp, 21 standard parking spots, six trailer-compatible parking spots and a convenience store.

It could be several months before the project even proceeds to a staff review. Once county planners have inspected the application, the department’s director may require a public meeting before staff compiles a recommendation to bring before the Planning Commission.


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